Desperate for starting pitching reinforcements, the Red Sox had hoped to get Eduardo Rodriguez back later this month to inject a much-needed boost to their rotation.
Now, they know that won't be happening.
Rodriguez, who was diagnosed with a mild case of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) in the aftermath of contracting COVID-19, was shutdown for the rest of the 2020 season Saturday.
"As we've continued to monitor it, it has not resolved, it's still there,'' said chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom of the myocarditis. "So while we remain very optimistic that he's going to be make a full recovery -- we're confident of that; the severity of this is mild (and) his heart is functioning normally -- due to the fact that it is persistent and the amount of care we need to take with this and the time left in the season, he's not going to be able to come back and pitch this year.
"So we're going to shut him down for the season. Again, we're confident that he's going to make a full recovery and his long-term prognosis is excellent. The fact of the matter is there just isn't enough time left in the season to safely ramp him back up to pitching.''
The news is a big blow for a Red Sox team that has compiled a 6.21 ERA through the first eight games of the season. Rodriguez becomes the fourth starter from last year's rotation to be absent from the Sox in 2020. David Price was traded with Mookie Betts to the Dodgers; Rick Porcello left to sign a one-year deal with the New York Mets; and Chris Sale is lost for the year as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
"Obviously, it's unfortunate,'' ackowledged Bloom. "It's not something that any of us are happy about it, least of all Eduardo. But we need to make sure we're taking care of him. This is not something to mess around with so we're shutting him down. We're very fortunate that this is a mild case.
"But while the heart is affected like this, we just can't responsibly put any cardio-vascular load on him. Once it resolves, we'll be able to progress him back. As I said, this case is mild. His heart is functioning normally. There are some cases (post-COVID-19) where that doesn't happen. But this is a mild case. We just can't do anything until it resolves.''